A Heavy Stubber is the name given to a range of heavy-barrelled Auto Weapons used for sustained fire. Like Autoguns they are easily manufactured and maintained, and are commonly used by Imperial Guard forces across the Imperium. A mainstay support weapon on lower-technology level planets that cannot maintain laser weapons in working order due to technological or resource limitations, and also popular with outlaws and hive gangers, the Heavy Stubber is ideal for fighting off large numbers of enemies or even lightly armoured vehicles. Its high rate of fire makes up for its lack of strength and armour-piercing abilities. Heavy Stubbers are often pintle-mounted and used as close defence weapons on Imperial Guard Vehicles, when rarer Storm Bolters are not available, and also for anti-infantry and light anti-aircraft fire. Some Imperial Guard regiments use Heavy Stubbers as heavy weapons for their infantry squads.
The origin of the Heavy Stubber lay in Mankind's past, in its precursor the Machine Gun, which dates back to at least the late 2nd Millennium. These early machine guns came into their own in the early 3rd Millennium. The Heavy Stubber is the modern version of this heavy automatic ballistic firearm, and is a tried and tested weapon that has stood the test of time to become the Imperial Guard's most common long-range anti-personnel weapon. The weapon is based on an extremely ancient design, making it too heavy to carry manually, and is thus most commonly mounted on Imperial Guard vehicles. In this capacity it serves as either as additional crew-served weapon or for close-in defence when much rarer Storm Bolters are unavailable. In penetrative power, the Heavy Bolter has superseded it as an infantry weapon, but it has survived in use thanks to its ubiquitousness and reliability.
Affectionately known as "Big Stubbers", the Heavy Stubber has an extremely high rate of fire, which goes some way to making up for its inability to pierce armour much thicker than flak. Heavy Stubbers are extremely effective when deployed against massed formations of lightly armoured or unarmoured foes. It is also an ideal support weapon for worlds of lower tech-level that might otherwise struggle to maintain Laser Weapons through technological or resource limitations. The Heavy Stubber is a weapon that has passed into the hands of many Imperial civilians and ad-hoc militias, rendering it a favoured weapon of insurgents and other troublesome factions. Though most Stubbers are poorly maintained and tend to jam often (thanks to incorrect cleaning rituals or the misapplication of sacred unguents), care has to be taken when approaching an enemy bearing such a weapon.
Like Autoguns, Heavy Stubbers are easily manufactured and maintained and commonly used by Imperial Guard forces across the Imperium. As stubbers, they fire characteristically over-sized rounds, making them inaccurate over longer ranges, but their belt feed and high rates of fire make up for this short coming. Many patterns use an ammunition belts of 100 rounds, though this often requires a loader to ensure the feed doesn't jam. Heavy Stubbers can also be used with an ammunition drum, changing its clip size to 40 but decreasing its reload time. Due to their size and weight, most Heavy Stubbers include a bipod or tripod mount and must be fired from a prone position to avoid the punishing recoil, though some tough individuals may be able to carry them with extensive bracing harnesses or suspensors. Others are mounted on a vehicle's pintle-mount. This weapon has been fitted with a backsight and foresight for aimed fire, a carrying handle and a perforated outer barrel casing to aid cooling.
Known Heavy Stubber Patterns
- Heavy Stubber - The atypical pattern Heavy Stubber is the most popular pattern amongst both military forces and hive gangers alike. They are typically employed with a bipod or tripod mount.
- Echon Pattern Mark III Assault Stubber - A more specialised and advanced variant of the Heavy Stubber, this weapon has two barrels that spew out stub ammunition to lay down a dense barrage of shells. It is often used by special operations forces in quelling armed uprisings. The Echon is designed to be used with a backpack ammo pack, weighing 25 kg and carrying 200 rounds of ammunition. The Echon Pattern is able to used with any form of special Heavy Stubber ammunition
- Othlack Pattern - The Orthlack pattern is manufactured for Planetary Defence Force armouries in the Calixis Sector and is widely exported. It uses an ammunition belt which allows for long firing periods.
- Ursid Pattern - A locally copied pattern of the Orthlack Pattern, the "Ursid" pattern supposedly originating from the war world of Zayth is more compact and uses a smaller ammunition drum which most users find easier to port and reload.
Heavy Stubber Ammunition
- Bullets - Hard rounds are common for many weapons within the Imperium and vary greatly in calibre and design. Bullets from one kind of firearm cannot be used in another unless they are very similar in make. For example, bullets useable for a Stub Revolver may be used in a Stub Automatic, but not in an Autogun.
Not all munitions are created equal, and there are many enhanced or unusual choices beyond the standard fare open to militants -- a modest variety are presented here. Each type of unusual ammo can only be used with certain weapons as detailed in its description, and only one kind of ammunition can be used at a time.
- Amputator Shells - Filled with explosive micro-shrapnel, these bullets are designed to shear flesh and shatter bone, causing limbs to be blown away.
- Bleeder Rounds - This ammunition is treated with toxins to prevent coagulation and keep wounds bleeding freely. These shells are designed to burst on penetration and spread the anti-coagulants quickly.
- Expander Rounds - Vicious and outlawed on some worlds, these dense shells are designed to shred open after impact, creating huge exit wounds.
- Man-Stopper Bullets - These densely tipped bullets are designed to punch through armour.
- Tracer Rounds - Tracer rounds are anointed with a pyrotechnic alchemical compound during construction, so that they burn brightly and visibly in flight and allow for aiming corrections on further weapons fire. Tracer rounds are usually interspersed with regular ammo, with every fourth or fifth round being a tracer. As a side effect of its luminescence, a tracer round can ignite highly combustible materials, and so certain precautions should be observed when firing them.
- Black Crusade: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 156
- Codex: Imperial Guard (5th Edition), pg. 70
- Dark Heresy: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 132-133
- Imperial Armour Volume Four - The Anphelion Project, pp. 116-119
- Imperial Armour Volume Five - The Siege of Vraks, Part One, pg. 97
- Imperial Armour Volume Six - The Siege of Vraks, Part Two, pg. 149
- Imperial Armour Volume Eleven - The Doom of Mymeara, pg. 79
- Imperial Munitorum Manual by Graham McNeill, pg. 72
- Only War: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 178
- Only War: Hammer of the Emperor (RPG), pg. 123
- Rogue Trader: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 121, 135-136
- Rogue Trader: Into the Storm (RPG), pg. 111
- Warhammer 40,000: Battle Manual (2nd Edition), pg. 64
- Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader (1st Edition), pg. 87
- Warhammer 40,000: Wargear (2nd Edition), pg. 37